Since Robert Plant swaggered back on stage with the rest of his legendary bandmates last year, rumour and counter-rumour have abounded that Led Zeppelin would embark on a full tour.
However despite a denial from the Black Country-born rock star of any upcoming tour dates - last month he said he will not tour for at least two years - Led Zeppelin are apparently now looking at going on the road without their snake-hipped frontman.
But bassist John Paul Jones and promoter Harvey Goldsmith have both admitted touring with a replacement for Plant would be akin to being nothing more than a tribute band.
Jones, speaking at a guitar show in Exeter, said “There’s no point in just finding another Robert, you could get that out of a tribute band, but we don’t want to be our own tribute band.”
And Mr Goldsmith, who promoted the band’s lucrative one off gig at London’s O2 Arena last year, said the band should not tour as Led Zeppelin if Plant is not involved.
His bandmates are auditioning for a new frontman to perform in future live shows.
Mr Goldsmith added that even if Plant agreed to go on tour, it would not be the right move for the band. He said: “If they’re going out with another singer it’s not exactly Led Zeppelin, and if it is, then them doing a long tour, I’m not sure what the point is because they don’t need to do it.
“I think they should do something as Led Zeppelin but I think doing a long tour around the world, like the Rolling Stones did, I don’t know that would work.
“They’re one of the few lucky bands that don’t need to tour. They need to do something new and innovative that would turn them on.
“As far as I’m aware there’s no Led Zeppelin tour. Whatever the rest of the band want to do with other musicians is up to them.”
If the band do go ahead with their sans-Plant plans, they would not be the first legendary rock band to tour with a different frontman
Following Freddie Mercury’s death in November 1991, Queen fans were divided over whether the band could or should ever tour again, claiming that no-one could step into the lead singer’s shoes.
Elton John and George Michael, who both previously performed with the band, along with Robbie Williams, were all mooted as possible replacements.
But after Brian May joined Paul Rodgers to perform Free’s All Right Now at the the Fender Strat Pack concert in 2004, the guitarist spoke of a musical chemistry between the pair. The former Free and Bad Company singer joined Queen in 2005
Similarly after Michael Hutchence died in a hotel room in November 1997, Australian rockers INXS teamed up with various vocalists, including Terence Trent D’Arby and Jimmy Barnes.
In 2006, the remaining band members agreed to work with MTV to find a new frontman, as a full-time replacement for Hutchence. Singer JD Fortune won the contest Rock Star: INXS.